toronto parks

The best and worst parks for shade in Toronto

Some parks in Toronto are way better than others in terms of shady areas, and these are the ones you want to flock to on a hot summer day. Never again find yourself sprinting past that family of four before they can claim the final remaining square-foot of sweet, sunless serenity.

Here are my picks for the best and worst parks for shade in Toronto.

BEST

Dufferin Grove Park
This whole park is canopied by lush trees, so you'll have zero problem securing that sweet spot. There's also a wading pool so if the shade isn't enough to cool you off, dip your feet in for instant refreshment.

High Park
Not only are there ample trees, but this park is settled pretty close to the water, so you might catch a cool breeze while you're relaxing. If you dip into the forested area, you'll barely be touched by the sun.

Coronation Park
Neatly lined rows of trees provide ample cover in this waterside park, and the wind coming off the lake makes it an even more perfect spot to chill. There's also a large art installation you can take cover under.

Trinity Bellwoods Park
Ah, the classic. While it'll be one of the busiest in a heatwave, this park's tree count keeps growing (29 new ones were just planted). Head for the centre of the park or the north-eastern corner for the best spots.

Sherwood Park
Since it's heavily forested, this park is like an oasis in the summer. There's also a picnic shelter and two wading pools (with fun spray features!) to take your cooling off to the next level.

Morningside Park
Escape the heat for a few hours by traipsing through this urban wilderness. Outside the forest area, there's a covered picnic area and a splash pad.

WORST

Riverdale Park
The only trees you'll find in this enormous park are around its perimeter, and those are taken up fast. The rest of the space is devoted to uncovered sports fields and grassy areas - so it's a better place to get a tan than it is to cool down.

Christie Pits Park
Shade is scarce in this sports-centred park, so avoid laying down your blanket here. If you want to cool off in Christie Pits, wait until the sun sets on Sunday when the outdoor film festival kicks in.

Sherbourne Common
More of an architectural park, this area doesn't offer much sun cover. You'll be too tempted to hop in one of the water-themed installations, so steer clear of this park in a heatwave if you want to park yourself on grass - head down to the nearby Cherry Beach instead.

Woodbine Park
This park hosts a lot of public events because it's a wide, open space - so shade is hard to come by here. The gazebo is the only source of relief, but it'll either be taken by the crowd or by some musical performance.

Humber Bay Park West
Unless you can find refuge under a bush, this park is pretty much shadeless. The only source of cool you'll find here is the breeze coming off the lake.

What did I miss? Add more shady and sunny parks to the comments. Photo of Trinity Bellwoods by William Kimber in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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